President Robinson and Provost Connolly Share Their Opposition to the Federal Tax Plan with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand

The Graduate Center - Office of the President

November 20, 2017

The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
Minority Leader
United States Senate
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Schumer,

Thank you for your leadership in the Senate. You have been a steadfast advocate for our country during this time of intensely partisan policymaking.

We write today to voice our serious concerns about the tax reform bill approved by the House. This bill takes direct aim at students of many types. Our specific concern at the Graduate Center is graduate students, whose futures will be imperiled by taxing financial aid in the form of tuition remission as earned income. The tax plan will significantly disrupt the success that we at the City University of New York have had in propelling more students into the middle class - more than all the Ivy League institutions combined.

If allowed to stand, the taxes called for in the House bill will have a devastating effect on our students and our University. Students would no longer be able afford their graduate education. One particularly worrying consequence is that we can expect significant declines in underrepresented minorities pursuing a Ph.D. Over the last several years, our Graduate Center faculty have been tireless in their efforts to recruit and retain a diverse student body. This has been a top priority of ours, and we are pleased and proud to say that the Graduate Center now ranks seventh in the nation for awarding doctorates to students from underrepresented minority groups.

We are cautiously optimistic by the approach set forth in the Senate bill that does not tax graduate tuition waivers. Without these protections, students will drop out, unable to afford their tuition. If fewer students pursue a Ph.D., the country will see a decline in job growth, particularly in the STEM fields that have been the engine of innovation and socioeconomic mobility.

As you know so well, and have championed for years, higher education is essential to the ongoing project of building just, equitable, and democratic societies. We urge you to hold fast to the protections afforded our graduate students in the Senate bill and to pursue a tax policy agenda that will provide all New Yorkers the support they need to attain their goals.

Thank you again for your continued support.


Chase F. Robinson Signature

Chase F. Robinson

Joy Connolly Signature

Joy Connolly
Provost and Senior Vice President

Submitted on: NOV 21, 2017

Category: President's Office - Archive | Provost's Office